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While not holding any formal qualifications in winemaking, Jason’s appetite for the subject was voracious and he was lucky to learn from some of the Barossa’s finest winemakers until finally, after some encouragement from friends he approached his father to discuss buying a small parcel of the fruit from the 2001 vintage. He agreed and Jason put together his first Nitschke Block Shiraz, making only two hogs head barrels. In 2002 Jason produced his first Thiele Road Grenache and have made both wines every vintage since. To this day Jason’s parents have supported his venture and without their encouragement and the sacrifice of some of the Barossa’s greatest Shiraz and Grenache he could not have made this dream happen.
Relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest vignerons have grown over the years and having access to some of the region’s best old-vine fruit allows Jason to take a hands-off, intuitive approach in the winery.
Jason’s minimal intervention winemaking style enables him to create small-batch wines that are not mainstream – they are new-age expressions of Barossa classics, designed to allow the fruit to speak for itself and tell a story through the glass.
The family Grenache block on Thiele Road in Bethany remains one of Jason’s favourite blocks. The Thiele Road Grenache was the second wine made by Jason Schwarz and celebrates his love of this diverse variety. The gnarled, old vines were planted in 1941 and they produce fantastic fruit.
The 2019 Thiele Road Grenache fruit was hand-picked on a cool morning on March 4th. 30% of the fruit was maintained as whole bunch clusters with the remaining fruit destemmed. The whole bunch fruit was tipped on top of the fermenter, dry ice added, and a lid sealed on. Natural fermentation occurred after 4 days when gentle pump overs started.
It is only pumped over once daily to maintain the integrity of the fruit and not macerate the delicate skins. Eight days after fermentation started, they begin foot stomping to break the whole berries and release any unfermented sugars. This continued daily until pressing. The fruit was pressed 18 days after picking into stainless tank where it finished primary and Malo fermentation. The wine was then racked to seasoned French Puncheons until final blending April 2020. Bottled December 2020, no fining or filtration. Vegan-Friendly
This wine shows a truly mature side of Grenache that others should aspire to. Savoury, with earth, peat and tar, very slowly unfurling to red florals and Grenache’s lovely cranberry aromas. Give this time, it rewards a decant. The palate is truly complex, tannins of a mid-grain nature hinting at the ageing potential of this, but overall, extremely succulent. A very rewarding wine and a lesson in excellent old vine Grenache.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for 10-15 years.
Don’t just take our word for it…
89 points – 2022 Halliday Wine Companion